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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHING    TORSO

She had just got some money from the theatre and
produced a ten-pound note. At this time ten- or
even five-pound notes were not, I think, legal
tender. I looked in horror at it and said, " You
must get some change for that," but she said that
it did not matter, I had a horrible presentiment
of the trpuble that we might land in. We took
a taxi to Dirty Dick's in the City, near Liverpool
Street. I paid for the taxi which came to nearly
three-and-sixpence. Yvonne was delighted with
the City and could hardly believe that Dirty Dick's,
with the mummified cats and rats, existed. She
had not troubled to remove her stage make-up,
which really was very sensational: bright blue eye-
lids and enormous eyelashes. All the local custo-
mers, sailors, bank-clerks, and old ladies in shawls
stared in astonishment. We went in to the farthest
bar, where there are festoons of dead cats and rats,
old policemen's hats and huge keys, all covered
with dust. Dirty Dick was the son of a rich City
merchant and lived in the eighteenth century. He
was engaged to a young woman who had died on
the day of the wedding, and as he had sworn never
to wash again, he became known as " Dirty Dick."
All the cats from the neighbourhood crowded in
through the windows and died there, and he kept
a tavern. The port is very good there and we had
several glasses and some sandwiches. Yvonne was
blissfully happy* I was nervously watching the
clock and wondering what would happen when
the ten-pound note was produced. She saw the
time and she said, " MonDieu^jedoisUreaTAlhambra
^:A^vVv.:-.;". .      244 -' '": '-'  ,'.':"'".